Meraux Foundation donates 4.6 acres of land on Paris Road to Sheriff’s Office to build a sub-station and support building near a parish border; Sheriff said it will be a key part of crime suppression
The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office has received a donation of 4.6 acres of land on Paris Road from the Meraux Foundation to build a sub-station and support building near the border with Orleans Parish, making it a key part of the department’s crime suppression strategy, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
The buildings, to have the address of 4601 Paris Road in Chalmette, will be part of three sub-stations being built at entrances to St. Bernard.
The address of the other stations will be 6501 St. Claude Ave. and 7001 W. Judge Perez Drive, both in Arabi. All three new sub-stations are being paid for with money from FEMA, replacing buildings destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. The Sheriff’s Office currently leases a building its sub-station is in at 5429 Paris Road.
An official transfer of the land took place Thursday, Feb. 27.
“We are happy to donate this land to the Sheriff’s Office to help make our community safer and stronger,’’ said Rita Gue, president of the Meraux Foundation. “We give land for projects that add value to the property, have long-term effects and improve the parish – and this new sub-station meets all our criteria.’’
“We are proud to do this,’’ Gue said of her and her husband, Floyd, also present for the donation. The location of the sub-station would be ideal for allowing the Sheriff’s Office to monitor traffic in and out of St. Bernard, she also said before signing papers to donate the land.
Sheriff Pohlmann, in receiving the donation, said, “We are very grateful for the land the Meraux Foundation has given to us and the community.’’
“This donation is major for us,’’ the sheriff said. “The new sub-station will serve as an important resource in our strategy to suppress crime and keep the parish safe.’’
Maintaining sub-stations at all entrances and exits of the parish is vital in trying to prevent a fleeing criminal from leaving the parish after an incident, he said.
Gue said the Meraux Foundation has donated land to other public purposes including the parish hospital, the library and the animal shelter, saving the parish millions it woud have taken to buy the land.
The new sub-station on Paris Road would be 4,991 square feet, with a larger support building where equipment or vehicles could be kept. Bid-opening for the buildings will be in March.
The sub-station on St. Claude, which will be 8,193 square feet, is 35 percent completed and should be ready this fall, the sheriff said.
The West Judge Perez sub-station, which will be 4,191 square feet with a larger support building, will have a bid opening in March.
Arrest warrants issued for suspect Carl Kopietz in May 5, 2008, arson and burglary of a Chalmette daiquiri shop destroyed by fire; Call the S.O. with information on his whereabouts at (504) 271-2501
Eventually, Kopietz fled prosecution after arrests in Jefferson Parish, New Orleans and St. Tammany Parish. He is also known to be wanted on criminal charges in several other states. He has a lengthy criminal background which included serving a prison sentence years ago.
In Chalmette, where Kopietz wasn’t ever arrested, one of the places Kopietz was known to go was Daiquiries of St. Bernard, a small bar at 120 Packenham Drive, just off West Judge Perez Drive.
Now, Kopietz, 39, is wanted on arrest warrants issued Feb. 25 for arson and burglary in the May 5, 2008, burglary and fire that destroyed the business, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
About 5 a.m., the daiquiri shop was broken into, its three video poker machines emptied and the place torched, apparently to destroy evidence of the break-in. The site is now a vacant plot of land. An undisclosed amount of money was stolen, Sheriff Pohlmann said at the time.
The Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted an investigation, also aided by the Louisiana Fire Marshal’s office, including a $5,000 reward offered in the case, Sheriff Pohlmann said. There was speculation about suspects but no arrest was made.
Sheriff Pohlmann said evidence was developed which led to Kopietz as the perpetrator after someone came forward with information. Others may also have been involved, he said. “It’s good police work to have come up with a suspect in this nearly six-year-old case,’’ the sheriff said.
He said St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s detectives have presented information to a state district judge to obtain arrest warrants.
Judge Robert Buckley of St. Bernard Parish issued warrants Feb. 25 for the arrest of Kopietz for arson and burglary. A U.S. Marshal’s Service fugitive task force will be asked to get involved in the case, the sheriff said.
The last known whereabouts of Kopietz were in November 2013 when he was released from Atlanta-Fulton County Prison, before any warrants had been issued for the St. Bernard arson and burglary.
Have a great time at parades celebrating Mardi Gras but think about your family’s personal safety and avoid being a crime victim while distracted by having fun, Sheriff James Pohlmann reminds parish residents.
“Have a plan and keep your mind on what you are doing – you may be in surroundings outside your comfort zone – and think about what you would do if there were any emergency,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
“Watch where you park,’’ for a parade, he said. There have been scams where people who don’t own vacant lots take money to let you park there but “when you come back your car is gone because it was towed by the actual owner,’’ Also, if you don’t park in a legalspot your vehicle could be towed by authorities in that parish.
Make a point of leaving your wallet and jewelry home and bringing in a side pocket a little cash, a credit card and an I.D., making yourself less of a target to thieves, Sheriff Pohlmann said,
Tips to keep children safe:
The sheriff reminds parents and guardians to watch children carefully and never leave them unattended at a parade or Mardi Gras celebration.
“You know how easy it is to get seperated in a crowd,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. “Hold your children’s hands when walking in a crowd. It is just a fact you can’t get distracted by having fun yourself and forget – even for just a second- about your kids.’’
Also, “Make sure a child knows their name, cell phone number for a parent or guardian, and their address. If they do not, write it down on a card or piece of paper, place it in their pocket and make sure they know to find a police officer and give them this information if they become separated from you.”
Show them a near-by officer on the street or introduce them to the officer so a child knows an authority figure to go to if necessary.
Also, choose a spot for everyone in a group to know they should go to if anyone becomes separated.
Do not let children climb on top, over or under barricades, the sheriff said. If children are using ladders to see parades, make sure the ladder won’t topple over or get pushed over by a crowd and throw a child or adult under a float or other vehicle. To help do that, it is safest to place a ladder as far from the street curb as the ladder is high and always at least six feet from the curb.
Ask about other specific laws in another parish regarding parades, for example, in New Orleans parade-goers can’t rope off an area of public ground for themselves and their family or bring old furniture out on a parade route, such as a couch.
Sheriff’s Office played a key role as the Knights of Nemesis paraded in great weather for St. Bernard’s Carnival
It was St. Bernard Parish’s only Carnival parade and the Knights of Nemesis had great weather for entertaining spectators in Chalmette on Saturday, Feb. 22, with Sheriff’s Office personnel also playing a key role.
Children stretched for beads and other throws and riders on the 16 floats, which included several former New Orleans Saints players, seemed to have fun.
Sheriff James Pohlmann rode in the parade, as well as other department personnel and it saw the debut of the Sheriff’s Office mobile command post recently acquired with a federal grant and driven by Capt. Bret Bowens, leading the procession.
McGruff the Crime Dog, portrayed by Greer Cuccia of the Sheriff’s Office was in the parade, along with Lt. Lisa Jackson and Sgt. Darrin Miller of the department’s D.A.R.E. program which debuted a new miniature robot car. Maj. David DiMaggio, Capt. Charles Borchers, Lt. Robert Broadhead and Nick Cuccia of the Sheriff’s Office also rode in the parade.
The Sheriff’s Office also, for the first time, posted parade location updates on its Facebook page, done by Capt. Angela Huff, aboard the command post.
Sheriff’s deputies from all divisions handled parade security along the route on Judge Perez Drive Perez Drive. The crowd was generally well behaved, with very few arrests made for disturbances, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Also, as usual, the department’s Sky Watch, which enables viewing the crowd from a lifted platform about 30 feet up to look for any disturbances, worked well. Dep. Chantel Nunez sat in the Sky Watch.
Heavy winds early Friday damage houses, vehicles and utitlity lines on several streets in St. Bernard, including in Meraux, Chalmette, Violet and on Bayou Road further east; No injuries reported
No one was reported injured and the National Weather Service hasn’t said whether the strong winds and rains that came through the parish contained actual tornadoes touching down, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Numerous utility poles were damaged.
Eric Blache, who lives on Judy Drive in Meraux, had a rear glassed-in room explode from apparent pressure, breaking glass and pushing walls outward about just after 1:30 a.m. Friday.
He said he struggled to keep a door closed separating the rear room from the rest of the house.
Blache’s home also had roof damage.
Catherine Washington, in the 2400 block of Walkers Lane, several blocks west of Judy Drive, said she was awakened by the sound of her back patio cover blowing against a rear door and saw the cover blown to the ground.
“It totally took it off,’’ Washington said of the wind.
All along a section of Judy Drive there was damage.
Ronnie Barattini and John Stroebel, neighbors on Judy Drive, said they were awake and saw from their homes the destruction that took place. They said they believed it was a tornado.
Barattini had a patio cover blown away and its support posts pulled from the ground, as well as numerous other damage.
Stroebel had less damage.
On the easter side of Judy Drive, a carport was torn from a home and blown down and next door the front door was blown out with such force there was glass in the wall inside.
On Bayou Road in eastern St. Bernard, Shane Lulei, a sheriff’s deputy, had a tree fall on his private vehicle during heavy wind after 2 a.m. He said he saw a trampoline blown in the air about 50 feet.
New Mobile Emergency Operations Center will lead two parades, including Nemesis on Saturday, and a deputy on board will use the sheriff’s Facebook page to post live updates for the public
“I look forward to showing our residents and others on the parade routes the Mobile Emergency Operations Center, or Command Post, we acquired last fall through a federal grant,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
“Some of you may have seen it being driven through the parish for use during a tropical storm last October or at the Jerry Rathburn 911 Center in Chalmette. It suits our needs well as a command post and will become a fixture in parish parades.
“The new center will be the lead unit in both the 9th anniversary parade of the Knights of Nemesis, starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, and the Irish, Italian, Islenos parade at noon on Sunday, April 6,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said
The Operations Center will coordinate the running of the parades as well as road closings as it moves along the route, he said.
And, as the Operations Center rolls along Judge Perez Drive in both parades, inside the vehicle Capt. Angie Huff will post live updates on the parades’ location on the Sheriff’s Facebook page. Capt. Bret Bowen will be driving the Mobile Emergency Operations Center.
It’s the first time such live updates for the location of the beginning of a parade have been posted by the Sheriff’s Office. Also look at the sheriff’s Facebook page for updates on the latest news involving law enforcement in St. Bernard Parish.
“We hope people, especially children, find it to be fun and helpful to know when a parade will approach their location,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
The Mobile Emergency Operations Center was acquired through a federal grant and was delivered in September 2013.
14 sheriff’s deputies pass 90-hour Corrections course in Peace Officers Standards and Training; one part required being pepper-sprayed to deal with its effects
Fourteen St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s deputies recently graduated a 90-hour Corrections Division course in Peace Officers Standards and Training, or P.O.S.T., dealing with working in a prison environment or Juvenile Detention Center.
The course dealt with several facets of the job, with one part requiring the officers to be pepper-sprayed to deal with its effects in order to be certified in its use. They had to subdue a suspect after being sprayed.
Shown are members of the class including deputies, back row from left: Sgt. Dennis Morgan (instructor), Frank Auderer III, Dixie Dusang, Matthew White, Joseph Bowen, James Manint, Joshua Correa. Middle row: William Hery, Matthew Spencer, Andrew Mowers, Gaye Mladenoff, Richard Scheuermann, Leo Perez, Cpl. Brandon Lewis (instructor). Kneeling: Melanie Breaux, Vaughn Charrier.
Shown dealing with the effects of pepper spray are:
Dep. James Manint, standing on the right – his face and eyes red from the spray – attacks a bag held by Corrections Dep. Robert Mire.
Also, Dep. Leo Perez, also showing the redness from the spray, tackles and handcuffs a suspect portrayed by Corrections Dep. Jason Topey.
Also, Dep. Melanie Breaux, who had finished subduing a suspect after being peeper-sprayed, gets some fresh air from a fan.
Man arrested in Feb. 12 armed robbery of Dollar General Store on Paris Road; He confessed and turned over a BB-gun, hooded sweatshirt and back pack used
A 20-year-old Chalmette man whose only prior arrest was for shoplifting was booked Tuesday with the Feb 12 armed robbery of a Dollar General Store on Paris Road in Chalmette, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
The man confessed and led sheriff’s detectives to where he hid a back pack containing a BB-gun he showed a store employee in the robbery, a hooded sweatshirt, a mask and hat used, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
The bicycle he fled on after the robbery was also recovered. The stolen cash was gone.
Matthew Hendershot, 522 W. Liberaux St., Chalmette, who lived several blocks from the store, was booked with armed robbery after detectives developed information including his name and went to his home for questioning.
Sheriff Pohlmann said Hendershot admitted he committed the robbery and took detectives to a spot behind an apartment building where he had stashed a green and black back pack he wore that night, and which when found contained a realistic-looking black BB-gun and the other items used in the robbery.
The suspect had carried the BB-gun in his waistband and showed it to an employee when he forced him to fill a bag with money, the sheriff said.
No one was injured in the robbery at a Dollar General Store in the 3300 block of Paris Road.
Henderson’s only previous arrest was a year ago for shoplifting in Chalmette, authorities said.
He was being held in St. Bernard Parish Prison and will have bond set in his case by a magistrate judge on Wednesday.
Road closure on La. 46 Ext. Feb. 25-26 for filming a movie.
Midnight Special Pictures, LLC will be filming a car crash sequence for the movie Midnight Special, which will cause a road closure on La. 46 on Feb. 25-26, Parish government said,
The approximate hours of filming are 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. both days.
There will be a road closure on La. 46 both Eastbound and Westbound, between Sylvia Boulevard and Leon Drive on both days from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The filming will involve a car crash, special FX, high-speed car chases, and large lights.
Sheriff’s Office asks for help to identify a man who robbed a Paris Road store in Chalmette on Wednesday night, Feb 12, wearing a red hooded pullover with a dark back pack, with a pistol in his waistband: Call S.O. at 271-2501 or Crimestoppers at 822-111
The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking the public’s help to identify a man who robbed a Paris Road store in Chalmette on Wednesday night, Feb 12, showing a handgun in his waistband and forcing a clerk to fill a bag with money, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Anyone with information on the possible identity of the man should call the Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. Callers could be eligible for a reward if the information leads to an arrest.
No one was injured in the 9:10 p.m. robbery at a Dollar General Store in the 3300 block of Paris Road.
The man, described as in his late teens to early 20s, wore a red hooded pullover and a dark-colored back pack, the sheriff said.
He ran out afterward but sheriff’s detectives believe he may have gotten into a white vehicle that passed the store at the time of the robbery.